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Court rebuffs Zameer Karim

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Steven Kayuni

Chief Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa yesterday threw out an application by businessman Zameer Karim, head of Pioneer Investments, for the state to bring back a witness in a police food rations case.

In the case, Karim is being accused to have forged documents to acquire a K150 million loan to buy food rations for Malawi Police Service.

The court in Lilongwe has also thrown out an application by Karim to bar state witness, Yotamu Banda, from using a document which forms the basis of the state argument on the matter.

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Lawyer representing Karim, Alex Nampota, asked the court to recall former Director of Finance at Malawi Police Service, Innocent Botomani, now deceased, to come back to the court for re-examination.

But Director of Public Prosecutions, Steve Kayuni, objected to the request, arguing the matter was already exhausted.

In his argument, Kayuni further argued that there is no way that a witness who is now deceased would come to the court.

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In his ruling, Chirwa sided with the State that the cross examination was already done and there was no need for the recalling of the witness.

“The court has considered the objection and responses by the State in light of the above expounded legal provisions and principles. The court feels that the document which the state wishes to produce is one alleged to have been obtained fraudulently.

“The court directs that the witness may proceed to refer and produce the document as evidence in the court. The objection by the defence is therefore overruled,” reads the judgement in part

The late Botomani was a key witness in the case.

The case is part of Malawi Police’s K2.5 billion food ration scandal which Karim and Victoria Chanza, an officer with Ecobank, are accused of forging police documents to aid the secure of a K150 million loan from Ecobank on the pretext that Karim had a contract with Malawi Police Service in 2015.

The documents were a commitment by Ecobank to facilitate the loan to Pioneer Investments and that Police would pay the businessperson.

Karim and Botomani are answering charges of conniving to award Pioneer Investment a contract to provide 500,000 food ration packs.

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